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How do I help my child use "ambitious vocabulary"?

(12 Posts)
TheRoundTable Tue 09-Apr-13 19:32:18


This seems quite easy, but I really am at a loss as to how to help my child use more ambitious vocabulary in her writing. My own writing and English is pretty basic and I honestly feel that her writing is quite good for her age and that it will improve as she grows just like everything else, but her teacher has said that she would benefit from using more ambitious vocabulary in her writing, which makes sense, but I do not know how exactly to help.

There may not be an easy answer/solution to this, but just wanted to put it out here just in case someone can help or advise.

Thank you!

trickycat Tue 09-Apr-13 19:35:07

Use a thesaurus to find words which are more ambitious. For example instead of using 'big' in writing she could consider using enormous, massive, giant etc.
If they use 'Big Writing' in her school the teacher should be using activities to help them with vocabulary.

mrz Tue 09-Apr-13 19:40:20

Give her a word for example big and challenge her to come up with more words that mean the same than you in a minute (or whatever length of time you think appropriate). so huge, enormous, large, gigantic, monstrous, vast, colossal, massive, tremendous ... then challenge her to come up with opposites.
Ypu can get her to pick the best and put in sentences.

Pozzled Tue 09-Apr-13 19:43:27

Do you read a lot with her? Is she reading at a good level for her age? Try encouraging her to note down a few really good words when she reads (just two or three words a couple of times a week). Look the words up in a dictionary, then try to use them in sentences- can be spoken as well as written.

You can also make a game of 'speaking posh' sometimes, or using really over the top words- 'I'm going to saunter along the street to call on my companion'.

Try making collections of words on a set theme e.g. spooky stories, or a jungle setting. You could even make it random- words beginning with a certain letter.

BloooCowWonders Tue 09-Apr-13 19:52:00

I've found that my dc vocab had jumped ahead when they listen to audio books. They seem to absorb a lot more than while reading even the same book.
So maybe a multi-layered approach (I like the ideas above!)

mrz Tue 09-Apr-13 19:54:48

In class we have "magpie" books where the children write interesting words they find in their own reading or when we are sharing a class book. If the don't know the meaning they have to find out and use it in a sentence.

KatoPotato Tue 09-Apr-13 19:56:47

The mr men are great for some ambitious vocab. My DS (3) told me his dinner was extraordinarily tasty last night.

ByTheWay1 Tue 09-Apr-13 20:05:11

LOL we do the talking posh game sometimes too - "how delightful to peruse such a glorious menu at this gastronomical establishment" instead of "look at the great menu in this cafe"

TheRoundTable Tue 09-Apr-13 20:31:25

Hey! Thank you for the ideas!

We are trying to use a thesaurus now and yesterday, we started to write out 'big' words we found while reading. I think she does read at an okay level for her age. She is in Year 3 and she has been a free reader since Year 2.

We do read together and we look up words we both do not understand. My English is very basic like I said, so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to support her with this.

I really like these ideas and we will try them all.

MRZ, are 'magpie' books? Her teacher told me she encourages them to 'magpie' words and/or ideas from other books. Is this what you mean too or is there a series of books called 'Magpie' that could help with this sort of thing?

The 'Posh' talk will be a challenge for me too lol, but will try it.

numbum Tue 09-Apr-13 20:33:26

DD's got a book she's made. Each page has a basic word in the middle (small, big, good, bad, happy, sad, said etc) and she's written more exciting words around the page. She wrote the ones she could think of herself and then used a thesaurus to find more.

She doesn't use it quite as much now but it did help when she was struggling to make her writing more exciting

elfycat Tue 09-Apr-13 21:00:52

I get DD1 to find different words to describe the same things and then I suggest a few others. So if she says something is 'big' she might say large, or huge. I suggest enormous, colossal, massive.

Use an online thesaurus to look up words and maybe write them on a card with the commonly used word on one side and some of the others that you might like to use on the other. Make a game out of picking a word and making up a sentence with it in.

If you have any work related language (office/retail/medical/engineering) don't underestimate it's importance. It's almost a second language and will get her used to the idea. Play a game out of talking like a doctor or like a policeman (if doing teacher play nice or it might get fed back wink ). It doesn't have to be perfect and steal from any programs on TV that you watch.

As I'm a nurse I tend to try to use correct biological terms for anatomy. I may have the only 4yo out there who has a sore pharynx, and when she chokes complains that her epiglottis failed to stop water going down her trachea <evil grin smilie at the poor nursery team>.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 10-Apr-13 00:47:56

elfy cat....I would love that. it would make my day. I do try to teach dd these things too, but have failed miserably. I must do better!

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